AMD has today launched their new open GPU documentation website for register-level documents covering their ATI Radeon products. In addition, they are now providing an email address for any open-source developers who may have questions concerning these documents. No new documents are being published today, but this page is just offering up the previously-released M56, M76, RV630, and RS690 documentation from their previous two drops. The 3D (and R600 2D) "tcore" documentation should be released soon though (FOSDEM? :)).
For those of you using the RadeonHD driver with a Radeon X1000 (R500) graphics card, today it has picked up EXA and XAA support! This support is still very initial -- with no EXA accelerated (DMAed) up or download yet -- but it means the start of open-source 2D acceleration for these ATI graphics cards. The git commits pushing this XAA/EXA support were made just minutes ago to xf86-video-radeonhd on FreeDesktop's server. This support has also been announced on the RadeonHD mailing list. Furthermore, there is additional commentary in the RadeonHD IRC channel logs. This accelerated support at this time is not available for the Radeon HD 2000 (R600) series.
David Airlie has just mentioned on his blog that there is now initial open-source 3D support for the RS690 chipset. AMD's RS690 is an IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) found on some motherboards and has been somewhat popular for HTPC/media purposes. While the RS690 is part of the 6xx series, it has R500 era mode-setting with a stripped-down R400 era 3D core. Currently, this open-source 3D support is similar to the RS400 series with glxgears and some 3D applications working, but don't look for any desktop eye-candy through Compiz (it's not quite that far, yet).
If you've been running into problems building the Fedora RPMs for the ATI Catalyst 8.01 Linux driver, check out the latest packaging scripts available at Phorogit. The latest commit on January 20 adds the new amdnotifyui file to RPM SPEC file, which should address the build issue that crept into the Fedora 8.01 scripts. This information is available through the Phorogit viewer or by running git-clone http://phorogit.com/repo/fglrx-packaging.git. If you run into any other technical issues, be sure to stop by the Phoronix Forums.
Alex Deucher has announced that he has added initial EXA Render Accel for R300/400 graphics cards to the open-source xf86-video-ati driver. Initially this work only supports transforms for rotation, with no blending support yet. Eventually, this will also be something of benefit for R500 (Radeon X1000) owners as well. This latest code can be found in the xf86-video-ati git tree at FreeDesktop.org. If you run into any problems with this driver, be sure to report them on the Radeon IRC channel. Props go out to Alex, Wolke Liu, and David Airlie for this R300/400 EXA Render Accel work.
While we were hopeful that AMD would release the next set of GPU documentation in time for Christmas, we've just been informed that the pending M76 / RS690 specifications will be released by the end of next week. As we mentioned with the RadeonHD 1.1 driver release, this drop will also contain sample code so that DRM work can be underway for the ATI R500 and R600 series. We'll share the complete details on this drop once it has occurred. This will be the second documentation drop since AMD announced they would be providing specifications without NDAs. The first drop had consisted of 900+ pages of register reference guides for the M56 and RV630.
If NVIDIA releasing the 169.07 driver and AMD releasing the ATI Catalyst 7.12 driver wasn't enough today, the xf86-video-ati 6.7.197 driver is now available for download. We reported earlier this week that this new release candidate would be coming and today it finally has arrived. Since the ATI 6.7.196 RC release, there have been over three dozen changes to the xf86-video-ati driver. Some of the major changes in this release include improved PLL handling, better notebook lid detection via Linux ACPI, fixed EXA transforms, improved Mac support, and a good number of bug fixes. The release announcement can be read on the X.Org mailing list.
The xf86-video-ati 6.7.196 driver was released about a month ago, but Alex Deucher has reported that he soon will be releasing v6.7.197 of this open-source Radeon driver. This driver will be released in the coming days and does include a few interesting changes. The xf86-video-ati 6.7.197 driver will include improved PLL handling, better lid status support on Linux, fixed EXA transforms, support for more Mac graphics cards, cursor rotation fixes, and bug fixes. This announcement was made on Alex Deucher's blog.
If you've been trying out the latest alpha builds of Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron" and are using the ATI binary driver, you may want to check out the latest packaging scripts from Phorogit. For Ubuntu users, there is now 8.04 support so you can run --buildpkg Ubuntu/hardy or --buildpkg Ubuntu/8.04 for building your Debian packages. The Ubuntu packaging scripts also now utilize DKMS support (Dynamic Kernel Module Support), for easily rebuilding the fglrx package upon Linux kernel upgrades. DKMS for fglrx in Ubuntu no longer makes it necessary to use the module-assistant installation routine. These Ubuntu packaging script updates (and others) will be present in this month's ATI Catalyst 7.12 release for Linux.
While if you're a loyal Phoronix reader you should already know most of the information discussed in this interview, Beyond3D recently chatted with AMD's John Bridgman about the RadeonHD driver and their new open-source position. The interview talks about why AMD is suddenly interested in open-source support, why the fglrx driver will not be opened up, how the two drivers will coexist with one another, no UVD programming information will be released, and more. For more information on the current status of the RadeonHD driver be sure to check out our graphics articles, RadeonHD news posts, and the Phoronix Forums, where John Bridgman and other open-source X developers are active members. Logs of the RadeonHD IRC channel are also available from RadeonHD.org.
This morning AMD has introduced their new cutting-edge PC platform that's codenamed "Spider". The Spider platform consists of AMD's Phenom quad-core processors, ATI Radeon HD 3800 graphics, and the AMD 7-series chipsets. The AMD Phenom processors are quad-core and based upon Direct Connection Architecture with an embedded memory controller with DDR2-1066 support and shared L3 cache. More information on the new AMD Phenom processors and chipsets can be found in today's press release. In the near future we hope to share with you how well the AMD Spider platform performs under Linux and whether there's any compatibility troubles with their new AMD 790FX Chipset.
Alex Deucher, a free software developer who lately is responsible for much of the work on the xf86-video-ati driver, has today announced that he has joined AMD. Beginning next month, Alex Deucher will be an AMD employee and will be working on the AMD's open-source initiatives. He will be working on the open-source ATI drivers and working with the open-source community at large. Alex had announced this on his personal blog. Last week at Phoronix we reported that AMD was hiring personnel for their open-source work.
One of the questions that has come up since we reported that AMD is preparing for another GPU documentation release and that R100/200 specifications will be made available, is whether internal information on the All-In-Wonder graphics cards will be published.
On Friday we talked about ATI preparing to release more GPU documentation to the public and without any Non-Disclosure Agreement, and today we have a few new details regarding the specifications for earlier Radeon GPUs. AMD's John Bridgman has posted in this Phoronix Forums thread that he is trying to re-release the GPU specifications for the R100~200 generation of graphics processors. The to be released R300/400 documentation will also assist in further enhancing the Radeon R100/200 driver. John had also mentioned that they will probably be able to assist open-source developers in any questions that they have for even older ATI GPUs as well (ATI Rage era).
Yesterday we reported on the brand new Radeon HD 3850 / 3870 graphics cards and their status under Linux. Later then we reported in AMD Preparing For Another GPU Documentation Release that these new RV670 graphics cards should "just work" with the RadeonHD driver thanks to the use of the AtomBIOS. This morning, Novell's Luc Verhaegen has confirmed in a thread in the Phoronix Forums that these new GPUs should already be supported by xf86-video-radeonhd. The RadeonHD developers haven't actually seen either the HD 3850 or HD 3870 yet, but it's expected that by just adding the correct PCI IDs that these new graphics cards will work with this open-source graphics driver.
Previously we reported on the Revenge utility being developed by Oliver McFadden for reverse-engineering the ATI fglrx binary display driver. Today marks the first release of the Revenge utility as it has reached version 1.0. This isn't a bug free release but Oliver hopes it will ship with some distributions to help in the reverse-engineering process and turn more Linux users to free software drivers. As you may recall from an earlier news post, Oliver McFadden is also working on developing an open-source video BIOS for at least one ATI graphics card.
It's over 24 hours now since the fglrx 8.42.3 download link first surfaced and we shared the great news with you that 8.42 delivers on AIGLX and other improvements. However, the AMD website still hasn't been updated for this new Linux driver. Though the AMD Proprietary Linux Release Notes for 8.42.3 is now accessible.
The ATI/AMD fglrx driver for x86 and x86_64 Linux is now available! This supports AIGLX and everything else we at Phoronix have been talking about. The 8.42.3 download link is here. With that said, be sure to read our just-published AMD 8.42 Display Driver Review. Please Digg to share.
Oliver McFadden, the developer behind the Revenge reverse-engineering utility for ATI Radeon GPUs, is hoping to create a free software (GPL licensed) Video BIOS for at least one ATI Radeon graphics card. This is certainly a much larger project than just reverse engineering a driver and is much more risky, but at the same time is very interesting and holds merit. Mark Shuttleworth would also like to see everything down to the device's firmware being free software. The steps Oliver is taking at this point is to examine the AtomBIOS parser, which is open-source as part of the RadeonHD driver (a partial explanation of AtomBIOS). If this open-source BIOS for ATI Radeon GPUs manages to take shape, we'll be sure to cover it here at Phoronix. More information is available on Oliver's blog.
Three days from now the new AMD-sponsored R500/600 driver being written by Novell should be unveiled, but in the meantime it's not stopping developers from continuing further work on the open-source Avivo driver. In the past two days there have been twenty-two commits to the Avivo driver's git repository. These commits fix TMDS register names and other changes based upon AMD's released specifications. As we have already shared with you before, the days of the Avivo driver are limited but the code will remain available after the new AMD open-source driver is out. We've been asked to no longer link to the FreeDesktop.org gitweb as it causes a "Phoronix Effect" with traffic that is apparently too much for their gitweb server to handle. However, hopefully you know the URL anyways so you can check out the latest open-source R500/600 driver code.
While the days of the Avivo driver are likely limited with the new open-source R500/600 driver, this driver has already improved marginally thanks to the publicly released RV630/M56 specifications. There wasn't a commit to the Avivo driver since two weeks ago, but Matthew Garrett took care of the AVIVO_VGA_MYSTERY registers with their real names and values thanks to this new documentation. The AVIVO_VGA_MYSTERY changes can be read about here. The new open-source driver that's being written so far by Novell should be released next week. In the meantime, be sure to check out the specifications (well, if 900+ pages of GPU register specifications interest you).
Ending off the X Developer Summit this year, Matthew Tippett handed off ATI's GPU specifications to David Airlie on a CD (as reported by Daniel Stone). However, the specifications are also now available on the Internet! At http://www.x.org/docs/AMD/ is the location of the documentation where you can freely download the files. Right now there is the RV630 Register Reference Guide and M56 Register Reference Guide. The RV630 Reference Guide is 434 pages long while the M56 Guide is 460 pages. Expect more documentation (and 3D specifications) to arrive shortly. The new open-source R500/600 driver will be released early next week. More information to come soon. Tell us what you think. For more information, read our ATI/AMD's New Open-Source Strategy Explained article.
AMD today has announced its first quad-core processor in the Opteron workstation series. AMD's first quad-core component has been for a while now as Barcelona , but officially it belongs to AMD's Opteron 2300 series. Accompanying their quad-core announcement is a new metric for determining power usage known as Average CPU Power (ACP). Accompanying the Opteron 2300 series are also new power-saving technologies such as AMD CoolCore Technology, Independent Dynamic Core Technology, and Dual Dynamic Power Management. Last but certainly not least, the Barcelona offers improved virtualization performance. In the near future at Phoronix we hope to be delivering Opteron 2300 benchmarks for Linux and Solaris. You can also find Linux benchmarks from Intel's first quad-core processor (known as Clovertown) in our Intel Xeon 5300 Series Preview. Find out more on this new AMD processor series in the AMD press release.
This morning at the X Developer Summit in the United Kingdom, Matthew Tippett and John Bridgman of AMD have announced that they will be releasing their ATI GPU specifications without any Non-Disclosure Agreements needed by the developers! In other words, their GPU specifications will be given to developers in the open. Therefore you shouldn't need to worry about another R200 incident taking place. The 2D specifications will be released very soon and the 3D ones will follow shortly. Specifications for ATI's R300 GPUs should also be out in the future. You may recall that we explained their new open-source strategy last week, but at that time it was still up in the air internally whether or not there would be an NDA for developers. Well, there won't be now so developers can freely access this information and use it for open-source work. Tell us what you think in the forums.
While no ATI fglrx driver is available for Solaris/OpenSolaris or *BSD, now that AMD will be offering up specifications to X.Org developers and an open-source driver, it certainly is promising for any Solaris user depending upon ATI's Radeon X1000 "R500" or HD 2000 "R600" series. The open-source X.Org driver that will be released next week is far from mature, but it should be able to be ported to Solaris and other operating systems using X.Org with relative ease. What AMD announced today is targeted for the Linux community, but it can certainly help out Solaris/OpenSolaris users that use ATI hardware. Especially with "Project Indiana" coming out soon, it's only a matter of time before the open-source R500/600 driver is ported. Tell us what you think in our Solaris forum.
It's been a glorious past couple of months for ATI Radeon X1000 owners that have had very basic open-source support provided by the Avivo display driver. However, it looks like the open-source Avivo driver will soon be going away to a bit-bucket heaven. If AMD sticks to their word, Jerome Glisse (the Avivo lead developer) will discontinue all work on the xf86-video-avivo driver. In fact, he said he "kind of stopped doing real work on it" already and is partially the reason why the Avivo v0.1 driver hasn't been released. He is, however, looking forward to contributing to a new yet to be named open-source driver. Jerome is doing this because he believes AMD is starting to truly work with the open-source community. We will disclose more information on the new open-source driver in just a few hours.
Well, by now you've probably seen our articles today -- AMD 8.41 Display Driver Preview, ATI R300/400 Linux Performance, ATI R500 Linux Performance, ATI Radeon HD 2900XT On Linux, and AMD: Accelerating Open-Source Drivers? -- but the fun is certainly not over. In the coming hours and days we will be delivering additional articles that talk about AMD/ATI's latest efforts in the Linux arena. These articles include Radeon HD 2400 and HD 2600 performance metrics, a Linux versus Windows performance comparison with the new driver, and other articles sought after by the community. There has also been some talk on the Internet about ATI specifications being released at the Linux Kernel Summit, and once our embargo expires (or we're otherwise permitted to talk about it) we will be covering what's up with ATI's open-source side as well. In the meantime be sure to take part in one of our active discussions taking place in the Phoronix Forums. If you have any questions about the new driver don't be afraid to ask.
Revenge, a clean-room reverse engineering utility being developed by Oliver McFadden for Radeon graphics cards, is nearing its 1.0 release. This utility is designed for reverse engineering the ATI graphics cards and their binary driver. Oliver is finishing up work on hardware and software identification, a revenge.sh script, and adding more tests/analysis work before releasing it as Revenge 1.0. Already on the road-map for Revenge 1.1 is texture dumping support. You can find Oliver's announcement on his Live Journal.
Dodji Seketeli and Jerome Glisse have completed porting the open-source "Avivo" R500 driver to libpciaccess, the new PCI infrastructure. Libpciaccess allows X.Org to access the PCI bus and devices with platform independence. Keith Packard has documented on the X.Org Wiki how to implement this new PCI infrastructure with X.Org graphics drivers. The git commit marking the completion of the libpciaccess changes for the Avivo driver can be viewed via gitweb.
With most of the open-source ATI Radeon driver development efforts focused on the RandR 1.2 branch, David Airlie has decided to merge the RandR 1.2 branch with the master tree. All of the Radeon driver activity has been around such things as TV-Out support and all of the RandR 1.2 goodies which resulted in the merge to master. The color problem on the R100/200 series with TV-Out was also fixed as well as other TV-Out fixes and a code cleanup.
731 AMD news articles published on Phoronix.